On May 25, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law prohibiting abortions for residents in the state. Under the new measure, women would not be allowed to receive the procedure at any stage of pregnancy.
Similar to Texas’s Senate Bill 8, the new law will allow private citizens to sue abortion clinics, medical professionals, or anyone who assists a woman to obtain an abortion.
Few exceptions will be made for medical emergencies or if pregnancy must be terminated in the case of rape, sexual assault or incest. However, residents will need to provide proof that the aforementioned incidents were reported to law enforcement, ABC News adds.
Some abortion clinics have already stopped providing services
State lawmakers were able to enact the strict abortion bill through criminal prosecution. The law goes into effect immediately upon Stitt’s signature, which means abortion clinics would have to stop performing the procedure immediately.
Two of the state’s four abortion clinics already stopped providing services following governor Stitt’s six-week abortion ban enacted earlier this month.
After signing the controversial bill, Stitt released a statement that read:
“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk and I am proud to keep that promise today. From the moment life begins at conception is when we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the life of the mother. That is what I believe and that is what the majority of Oklahomans believe.”
More difficulties to come
Abortion rights advocates worry that Oklahoma’s ban will cause other states across the South to trigger similar laws.
“We are seeing the beginning of a domino effect that will spread across the entire South and Midwest if Roe falls,” said Nancy Northup, the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, according to CNN.
“Right now, patients in Oklahoma are being thrown into a state of chaos and fear. That chaos will only intensify as surrounding states cut off access as well. We will not stop fighting for the people of Oklahoma and for everyone across the country,” she added
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